Make a Cardboard Boat




This is an easy way to create a cardboard boat. Why build a cardboard boat? Well every year races are held at the river, and it's fun. I cannot guarantee that it will float. I typically build "stylish" boats.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:
-Water proof Tape (duct tape is best)
-Box Cutter/ Scissors
-Something to draw with
-An idea and necessary decorations
-Paint (optional)

Step 2: Get a Basic Shape

It would be better to build the boat in more of a speed boat shape, but since i go the "creative" route, my first two boats were shaped like boxes. This year it was an oval shape so it went a little faster.

Draw out the basic shape, then cut it out.

Step 3: Create the Walls.

Cut cardboard into the height of the walls you want. It is easier to keep the wall in a strip so you don't have to tape them together and risk more leaks.

Line up the walls to the base. If you are going around a curve then mark it. Score the line and fold it so it goes around the curve. Keep doing this until you run out of cardboard and tape it down inside and out.

Tape all the sides on and any walls that need to be taped together.

If the base of your boat is sticking out, cut it off before taping it.

Step 4: Strengthen It.

I normally tape the bottom first. Tape the bottom so no water can get in, also tape the sides a little, you don't have to go up all the way.

Take strips of cardboard that are about 4-5 inches in width and score them in half. Then fold them so they create a 90 degree angle and tape them on the bottom inside of the boat.

To strengthen the sides on the top, get another piece of cardboard the same size as your boat. Cut the cardboard so it has tabs connected to the sides (see picture). Fold tabs around the sides and tape them. Attach with tape to the top of your boat.

Step 5: Decorate It

If you have more to add to your shape then add it. I created a dome for the head to sit on so it looked more duck like, rather than to put it on the front.

Add tape or paint if you want. I used latex paint because it will be waterproof for a short time.

Step 6: Making a Head.

Crumple up news paper

Wrap the crumpled up balls into other sheets of paper and tape them closed. (they are easier to handle that way)

Make as many as you need to get the desired size and tape them together to get the shape you want.

Cover it in tape/ paint to make it look like a head.

Attach to the body with tape.

Step 7: Set Sail

Go out in your finished boat.

Where a life jacket because if your boat is like my first boat, you will sink.



  • Arduino Contest 2019

    Arduino Contest 2019
  • Tape Contest

    Tape Contest
  • Trash to Treasure

    Trash to Treasure

38 Discussions


This is an amazing idea. Looking upon other sites and videos, a nice conclusion to be drawn is the fact that a V-shape is fast and a |__|-shape is harder to flip. Long boats are fast and harder to turn. Why not add a V to the bottom of the |__|?


10 months ago



2 years ago

hi guys


Reply 2 years ago

Give us a reason why you like this idea huh? Kyl01


3 years ago

My cardboard races at White Lake and Holden Beach NC

1 dusty-b.jpg1 dusty-c.jpgnewspaper101.jpgwl1.jpgwl2.jpgwl11.jpgwl31.jpgwl4.jpga6.jpg

Reply 3 years ago

Probably a hour or so


8 years ago on Introduction

I love the comment at the end: (paraphrase)....."you'll probably sink."

Um, if you build a's kinda important that it not least for a few hours!

While I'm not certain, I bet that about two gallons of liquid epoxy would help on this bad boy.

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Actually, if his has the same rules as mine, your only allowed to use Cardboard, tape, and paint. If he has a small stacks, you can use some mechanical parts, but other than that only cardboard tape and paint.


7 years ago on Introduction

We have races at the river in my state as well, people come from all different countries just to watch(There's also a little carnival type thing going on called River days, so that helps) and I have won twice against adults in the small stacks race(Which is cardboard boats with bike pedals attached to wheels to propel the boat). My dad won the one I raced in in a raffle and I raced it 3 years, im gonna try and get him to make a new one with me....


8 years ago on Introduction

I've made several of these for a contest, it is so much fun! The last two years the same two guys have won, they use the same boat over and over again. Mine look fun, lol but they sink.....and by golly it's really fun seeing how long they will last! Great work!


9 years ago on Introduction

Nice idea! Though it is a lot of duct tape. I think you could find a work around w paint or plastic bags, would be cheaper and more eco friendly.

6 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks, plastic bags aren't allowed in the races we do :/ only paint, cardboard, and duct tape. It is a lot of tape, i am lucky that i get free defect rolls of tape though


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

:0 oh my god. i would love to get free duck tape!!!!!! where do you get it free? i mean getting free tape would save me around 200-300 dollars a year!!


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

i know right? they just roll the tape unevenly or the thickness is off by like a half inch so its perfectly fine tape, just not good enough to sell apparently


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Yeah I guess people would freak, its like "HEY WTF? THIS ISNT THE RIGHT THICKNESS! THIS ISNT WHAT I PAYED FOR! IM GONNA SUE!" rofl